To Alphonse de Candolle 6 July 1868
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
July 6 1868.
My dear Sir
I return you my sincere thanks for your long letter, which I consider a great compliment, & which is quite full of most interesting facts & views.1
Your references & remarks will be of great use should a new edition of my book be demanded; but this is hardly probable, for the whole edition was sold within the first week, & another large edtion immediately reprinted which I shd think wd supply the demand forever.2 You ask me when I shall publish on the variation of species in a state of nature.
I have had the M.S. for another volume almost ready during several years, but I was so much fatigued by my last book that I determined to amuse myself by publishing a short essay on The Descent of Man. I was partly led to do this by having been taunted that I concealed my views, but chiefly from the interest which I had long taken in the subject. Now this essay has branched out into some collateral subjects & I suppose will take me more than a year to complete.3 I shall then begin on species, but my health makes me a very slow workman. I hope that you will excuse these details, which I have given to shew that you will have plenty of time to publish your views first, which will be a great advantage to me.
Of all the curious facts which you mention in your letter I think that of the strong inheritance of the scalp-muscles has interested me most. I presume that you wd not object to my giving this very curious case on your authority. As I believe all anatomists look at the scalp-muscles as remnant of the panniculus carnosus which is common to all the lower quadrupeds, I should look at the unusual development & inheritance of these muscles as probably a case of reversion.4
Your observation on so many remarkable men in noble families having been illegitimate is extremely curious; & shd. I ever meet any one capable of writing an essay on this subject I will mention your remark as a good suggestion.
Dr. Hooker has several times remarked to me that morals & politics would be very interesting if discussed like any branch of Natural History, & this is nearly to the same effect with your remarks.5 I agree almost entirely with what you say on acclimatisation & on graft hybrids; I never was more perplexed in my life than to come to any probable decision about Cytisus adami.6 I suppose that you have seen the recent article in the Bot. Zeitung by Dr. Hildebrand on graft hybrids in potatoes; this seems to me the best case yet recorded, & I am repeating his method of trial this year.7
With respect to the hypothesis of Pangenesis very few persons approve of it, but it has some enthusiastic friends; nevertheless I am so presumptious as to have much faith in its vitality.8
With Cordial thanks for your great kindness & sincere respect, I remain, My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully & obliged | Ch. Darwin
Thanks AdeC for his long letter full of interesting facts, which will be of great use if a new edition [of Variation] is demanded.
As for when CD will publish on variation in a state of nature: he has had the MS almost ready for several years but Variation fatigued him so much
that "I determined to amuse myself by publishing a short essay on the Descent of Man".
AdeC will have plenty of time to publish his views. Asks permission to quote AdeC on a case of inheritance of scalp-muscles [see Descent 1: 20].
Hooker has expressed a view, similar to AdeC’s, "that morals & politics would be very interesting if discussed like any branch of Natural History".
Agrees with AdeC on acclimatisation
and on graft-hybrids.
CD is repeating Hildebrand’s method in producing graft-hybrid potatoes.
As for Pangenesis, very few people approve of it though it has some enthusiastic friends and CD has much faith in its vitality.